Analyzing the tweets of Republicans and Democrats

phys.org | 4/19/2019 | Staff
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New Stanford linguistics research has analyzed how Republicans and Democrats use different language when discussing mass shootings on social media and found that Republicans talk more about the shooter and Democrats focus more on the victims.

Focusing on posts shared on the social media platform Twitter, the researchers found that Republicans tended to concentrate on breaking news reports and on event-specific facts in their tweets while Democrats centered on discussing potential policy changes, according to the new study, presented at a computational linguistics conference in June.

Time - Study - Dan - Jurafsky - Professor

"We live in a very polarized time," said the study's co-author Dan Jurafsky, professor of linguistics and of computer science. "Understanding what different groups of people say and why is the first step in determining how we can help bring people together. This research can also help us figure out how polarization spreads and how it changes over time."

Researchers examined 4.4 million tweets posted in response to 21 different mass shooting events, including the Orlando nightclub shooting in 2016, to determine what words and emotions people with different political leanings expressed.

Republicans - Fear - Disgust - Tweets - Democrats

They found that Republicans were more likely to express fear and disgust in their tweets than Democrats, who were more likely to communicate sadness and calls for action. Republicans were also 25 percent more likely than Democrats to write "terrorist" in tweets about the shootings in which the shooter was African American, Hispanic or Middle Eastern. Democrats were 25 percent more likely to use the same word when they tweeted about shootings in which the shooter was white.

Researchers launched the study because they had three main questions: What is different about how Democrats and Republicans talk on Twitter? Could Republicans or Democrats be identified based on particular words they use in their tweets? How could these differences help understand the causes and consequences of social media...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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